Thursday, 30 August 2012


I am just back today from Paris having been over to buy my autumn wardrobe. I could have bought one at Ikea here but i do like decadent.Anyway, the next few months are crazy busy and include a session with Chris Dale , the God of electronic litigation issues , next month.There are lots of legal issues i will be covering in the next few days. My special thanks to Helen Bush at DLA and Jocelyn Kirkwood of Shoosmiths for educating me on developments. Such brains.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Above is a poster at York railway station. Which solicitor (s) have been banned for anti-social conduct on the saturday night train to Middlesborough?


Jack Straw MP has been at the forefront of recent attacks upon claimants and their solicitors. The latter make too much money, apparently. An interesting stance when , as 'The Times ' reports today , Mr Straw trousered £136,130 over and above his parliamentary salary of £65,738 (plus awesome pension benefits).I am all for everyone maximising their income. It enables one to lead a decent life and to look after children and other dependents.What is rich is a man on £3,882 a week telling solicitors who do not come near this tally that they are overpaid.
The other line ( not necessarily espoused by Mr Straw ) is that MPs say that having outside interests enables them to keep in touch and do a better job. Fine but let them give credit for those external earnings so that if they recveived more than the parliamentary salary they would not draw down a penny from the state.
Finally , Mr Assange. He confuses prosecution with persecution. I thought he was charged with offences falling short of rape. It might transpire that his alleged victims are sick in the head , have spent time in the Priory , are near alcoholics and vicious fantasists . There is utterly no suggestion of this of course so we are left with 2 alleged victims of sexual assault who have been largely ignored . I thought those days were behind us after the most shocking case of the last century , Holdsworth, where a soldier raped a young girl and the Judge , Wien J ( not Wren as cited in the Government Equalities Office report 'Has anything changed' ) said she should have put up with his exuberance , a decision shamefully upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Last but not least on 18th august 2010 Mr Assange applied for a Swedish work and residence permit.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


'The Times' today published a letter from the Director of The General Insurance Association of British Insurers whining about injury lawyers and suggesting that claimants could "receive more compensation quicker than if legally represented". Really ? I would love to see the statistics upon which Mr Starling bases this statement . The statistics i  have seen show that one of his insurers , Aviva, made a profit of £935,000,000 in the first 6 months of this year. Almost as much as the injury lawyers reap.


I am thrilled to say that Jef and i are writing a guide to the new world and we will also be delivering a free to view webcast in October thanks to Jan Miller , editor of the 'New Law Journal' . Next month the magazine will publish a long overdue article on Part 18 written by international litigator, Mary Blyth.


There are a few stunners out there at the moment.Ahead of everyone is Waitrose with a superb Spanish producer called El Guia. Both the red and rose are lovely and a steal at £3-99. The Waitrose Barossa shiraz , made by the sublime St Hallett winery , is on promotion now for £7-49. It is massive and long and alcoholic but tasty.
Marks and Spencer is generally a disappointment but their French froglet red and rose are not expensive (about £6) and if you buy any 6 bottles of wine before september 3rd you get a useful 25% discount.I also rate their Macon Uchizy , a luscious white.
Tesco finest Cote Du Rhone is fabulous and under £8.If you like fizz then some stores stock Francois Dubois which until recently was over £30 but i got one last week for £14-99. It is as good as Bollinger and £5 cheaper than Tesco own label which is brilliant too but many shy away from a Tesco badged bottle.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


We are now seeing the first budgeted cases coming to fruition. In Birmingham yesterday HH Judge Simon Brown QC gave judgement in a restaint of trade claim brought by a company called Safety Net. Whilst as yet unreported i anticipate it will be. The learned Judge found for the claimant which had budgeted at £25,000. He awarded the victor costs of £24,000 there and then , thus avoiding the costs of costs ( detailed assessment ) and directed that they be paid in 14 days so that by the end of august everything will have been put to bed when judgment was but delivered on the 15th of the month.
The transcript also threw up a textbook damages based example for next year.The claimant , perhaps out of caution , limited the claim to £50,000 which was duly awarded. The gross value of the claim was about £150,000. It would not surprise me if an award of , say , £100,000 might have been achieved.Next year the claimant solicitors could take the risk on for 40%. Both they and the client would be better off.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


As you can see Lord Neuberger MR took my advice , yet again , in organising a team -building event for the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Baroness Hale is a superb photographer. Lord Sumption sent in a note from his mom.

Friday, 10 August 2012


I did wonder why Andrew Twambley of Amelans had so much time on his hands. A visit to his website reveals that he is a specialist in cannon shot injuries.Not as common as whiplash .I fully expect the Boer war veterans to launch a test case soon.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


A dispute about the Wedgwood Museum pension fund was recently determined in Birmingham.Richard Adkins QC  was on a brief fee of £45,000 and daily refreshers of £6,000 (plus vat ). This fine man was engaged for 12 years in litigation arising out of the Gomba receivership. I don't think you are likely to run into him at Butlins this summer; perhaps the Italian tomato throwing event in Tuscany to which i was once invited might be more like it.


The Rules as to drafting and exchanging witness statements have been with us since November 1992.In the recent AAA V Associated Newspapers decision we see lawyers failing to abide by the requirement that statements be in the own words of the witness. Here, as noted in the latest 'Private Eye' , a witness statement from a foreign nanny was littered with phrases unlikely to have tripped off her lips such as "impacted negatively".
This is not the first time that this has happened.In Barclays Bank v O'Brien , a decision about undue influence, Mrs O declared in her witness statement that she was barely literate yet it resonated with terms like " without prejudice to the foregoing " and other legal lingo.
There is an important point here beyond the damage that this can do to credibility.The Mercantile Judge in Birmingham has regularly made the point when considering costs budgets that a professional who is a witness , such as an accountant or banker, is well capable of producing a first draft which might need to be put into good order by solicitors but there ought not to be a  claim for the cost of drafting from inception.
Budgeting is around the corner as are the other big Jackson reforms.Be afraid .Be ready.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Dr Friston on Costs

It goes to the printers this week and the new edition will be published at the beginning of next month.Hurray.

Sunday, 5 August 2012


Poor Lord Neuberger is going to have his hands full.There are obvious rifts . The very recent Solihull decision saw Lord Mance, with elegance , slap down new boy Lord Sumption .See paragraphs 49 and 50. Some very ,very senior Judges resent the arrival of the latter without having served his time at the harsh end first.
A team -building and bonding exercise is called for. Lord Neuberger and i travel together on the Eurostar to Paris so why not take the court to Disneyland ? Two minor issues. Lady Hale may have a problem going on Big Thunder Mountain because of height restrictions and no one is allowed to jump the queue , however bright they might be.

Saturday, 4 August 2012


The CJC has published a report recommending how these should work. It is full of sense save that i believe that there ought to be a cap on the maximum percentage that can be taken from the client. Limits are proposed for various areas and indeed in the Employment Tribunal we have had a cap of 35% , a topic i , and others , advised the Government upon.I do not see why an upper limit of 50% should not be the ultimate ceiling in every type of DBA funded claim.


I could not decide which sight filled me with greater woe yesterday. Was it the Christmas department in full swing or the Non-alcoholic Champagne at £22-95 a bottle? Bonkers.


If you are going to throw a party do it properly. The event on the roof this week was textbook with wine fiend Shantanu Majumdar having chosen Laytons Champagne . Other members of the Cambridge litigation mafia , including Leanne Davis, were there .A happy hour .

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


The consultation paper has just been released. The lady with the tea leaves got it right yet again.Now for the lottery.


I wrote here on June 1st that a Cabinet reshuffle was being planned . The papers today report that Ken Clarke QC will be moved on and Ian Duncan Smith is suggested as his replacement.